1988 pistol deal: Court to hear arguments on charge sheet



New Delhi: A Delhi court has fixed March 30 to hear arguments on framing of charges against former Union Minister Arun Nehru for his alleged involvement in the 1988 pistol purchase deal scam.

Directing the Investigating Officer to supply complete copy of the charge sheet to the accused, Special CBI Judge Dinesh Kumar Sharma said that the agency should do it by March 30 so that it can begin hearing arguments on framing charges in the case.

It was alleged in the FIR that Nehru, former Minister of State for Home, along with ex-bureaucrat B P Singhal and then Director A K Verma had caused a loss of Rs 25 lakh to the exchequer in the pistol deal with Czechoslovakia in 1988.

The court in August 2012 rejected the probe agency's closure report observing that some of the documents reflected involvement of the accused in the conspiracy and had summoned Nehru and Singhal.

However, proceedings against Singhal and Verma are abated as they are already dead.

The Delhi High Court has exempted Nehru from personal appearance.

During 1985-86, Singhal and Verma allegedly conspired with Nehru to execute the deal by ignoring the guidelines for conducting the evaluation of 9 mm pistols to be procured for army.

The CBI allegedly found that a policy decision to replace .38 mm revolvers with 9 mm ones was taken on February 21, 1986, following which global tenders were invited.

The CBI had claimed that Nehru did not consult the army personnel and technical experts before the deal was executed and, moreover, the sample pistol was found to have a wide array of defects.

The deal was finally clinched by Czech firm Merkuria Foreign Trade Corp.

Nehru, during examination, had denied giving any specific written direction to purchase the pistol. He had also denied taking any decision regarding the constitution of a new evaluation committee, the CBI had said.

However, the CBI later filed the closure report with the lower court on June 13, 2007 saying that the investigation did not reveal any written instruction by Nehru nor constitution of any fresh evaluation committee.

PTI